Five Questions to ask before you Start your own #Business #fivequestions

Continuing on with the Five Questions series  I will talk today a little about what you need to consider before starting your own business.  I am not an expert in this field (I hate the word expert and will never, ever use it personally to describe anything I do), but I am someone with experience in this field, a practitioner, you might say.

I gave up my “paying job” in 2006 when I left Smith Seckman Reid, a really great company based in Nashville, TN.  I didn’t have any animosity when I left there, but I did have a deep desire to do what I am doing now and I talked with my wife about it for quite a while before I took the leap.

Here are the questions I would ask.  They make good sense to me:

1.  Why do you want to be in business for yourself?  Many people are not in love with their business idea, but they are in love with the idea of being their own boss.  Let me make one thing perfectly clear; if you are not willing to work harder in your own business than at any time in your life then you need to keep your current job.  Having your own business is a good thing, a rewarding process, a great motivator, but having your own business is never easy if you want to be successful.  I have found that I have worked harder in my own business than at anything else I  have ever done in my life.  If you don’t have the same interest, keep the job you have.

2.  Who would want to buy a product or service from me?  I was very fortunate when I started thinking and planning for my own firm.  God put people in my path who helped me do things I could have never done for myself.  One of these was helping to discern who I could market to and also how to rank them.  I made a list of people I thought I could sell my services to in the Executive Search and Leadership Development markets and then ranked them as an A, B or C with A being a certainty, B being a possibility and C being a stretch.  I need to revisit this list.  I know that many of the A’s never developed into clients and many of those I work with now were never on my radar screen at the beginning.

3.  Can you articulate what makes you different or better than others who do what you do?  This is one I have to constantly revisit, even after 7 years of self employment.  When I started my business I took a very pragmatic approach and chose to align with others under a common umbrella.  This first step served me well for a little over 4 years, but I then learned that I  had some different ideas about how I wanted to  run my own practice.  As a result of this mindset, and confidence, I struck out and started Ryan Search & Consulting in 2010 and here we are today.  I would say that I am extremely blessed to have had the success I have experienced.

4.  How will you fund your business?  No matter how good you are you need to consider where your sources of funding are.  I have bootstrapped my business from the beginning and I am so fortunate to be where I am today when I consider how leveraged the business was during 2009 and 2010 when the economy was at its worst.  Not only was the economy bad then, but I also had two sons in college during that same period.  We scraped by and made some difficult choices.  Choice is the one word that always comes to mind when I think of my own business.  Every day, every week is about choosing how to spend my resources; my time, my cash and my energy.  Never lose sight of this.

5.  Do I want to create a business to sell to others or will I shut it down when my work is done?  This is another key idea to consider.  Many people are so busy working in their business that they don’t spend any, or little time, working on their business.  A good friend recommended that I read the book “The e-myth revisited” and it was a real eye-opener for me when it comes to deciding whether my business is about me or if I am about growing my business for others to work in.  I still struggle with this, but I know in my mind that my intent is to build a business to pass along or sell at some future date.

Five simple questions that don’t have easy answers.

Consider these five questions if you really want to have your own business.

You will be glad you did.